What to release, when, always a challenge, police say
From the start, immediately after the first bank robbery in recent memory in Granville, police developed leads they did not disclose to the public, but shared with other law enforcement agencies.
When a female suspect, later identified at Jill Ludwig of Castleton, presented a note to the teller of the TD Bank on Main Street in Granville Oct. 25 at 11:07 a.m. police were on the scene within moments of the call going out. Granville Police Sgt. David Williams said interviews conducted in the moments after the robbery gathered information that informed the entire investigation going forward, but was not immediately shared with the public knowing the bank robber or robbers could be watching media reports of the activity.
“We didn’t want to divulge too much information,” Williams said. A witness placed a woman with dark red hair behind the VFW. She was seen talking on a cell phone in a car with New Jersey license plates in a vehicle that was possibly maroon or dark red.
“We’d already keyed in on that but we didn’t give that out to the public,” Williams said.
That would change during the second robbery as police put out the description over the air in hopes someone might spot the suspect’s vehicle.
Police suspected drugs likely played a role in the crimes, possibly with an addiction as a driving force motivating the robber to take such a risky avenue in search of money.
Because they keep track of what takes place in neighboring jurisdictions, Williams said police looked at a Vermont connection from the beginning.
Known drug sales and use areas were searched in Vermont as well as hotels and motels as police suspected the couple might not have any firm ties to the area.
Despite the suspect in the Oct. 25 robbery being female, police reached out across the border to see what information Vermont State Police and Rutland Police might have on similar crimes.
It turned out to be a major step in a case that was just hours old.
Rutland Police shared information that placed a female in a four door car with New Jersey license plates waiting nearby at least one robbery committed by a thin, white male. The male was caught by a door jam camera providing police and the media with a detailed image of the robber.
Police in Vermont tied the two robberies together when the suspect, now identified as John Maynard, 30, of Castleton, robbed the Merchant’s Bank in Rutland and then the Lake Sunapee Bank in West Rutland one month apart, Sept. 7 and Oct. 7.
In the first two robberies Maynard wore a dark colored ‘Gorilla Unit’ hooded sweatshirt and could be seen wearing a hollow earring known as a ‘gauge’ in his left ear. He also has a tattoo on his right wrist.
Police later noticed Maynard might have changed some of his clothing, but his distinctive shoes with black tops and white soles and a faded black hat remained the same, helping lock in the identity of the male robber following Oct. 29.
Williams said although the couple never started to cover their faces, a move that strongly suggested neither had strong local ties and thus a fear of being recognized; they did make some effort to change their appearance.
When Maynard robbed the TD Bank Saturday, Oct. 29 he had a different hooded sweatshirt and jacket and had made an effort to hide his face as well as the wrist tattoo. While police have other avenues they planned to pursue if the case had not wrapped up, all of that became unnecessary when Poultney, Vt. barber Jeff Roberts looked out his window Nov. 2 and was suspicious enough to write down the license plate number of a Ford Taurus from New Jersey.